TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's government must support the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in its efforts to contain buildups and leaks of radioactive water at the facility, the top government spokesman said on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will order the government later in the day to strengthen its response on water containment, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, indicating the government will get directly involved in combating the worsening problem.
"It is necessary for the country to step forward and offer support" to Tokyo Electric Power Co Ltd as it fights to stop contaminated groundwater from leaking into the ocean, Suga told a regular news conference.
Abe, at a meeting of a government task force on the nuclear disaster, will instruct Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi to "take prompt measures" on the problem, Suga said.
Motegi's ministry is considering requesting budget funds to address the water problem, he added. A government official told Reuters on Wednesday that the ministry had requested an allocation to help address the water problem.
(Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski, Emi Emoto and William Mallard; Editing by Edmund Klamann)